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Was The Giraffe In The Last Of Us CGI?

Contains spoilers for "The Last of Us" 

The first season of "The Last of Us" has officially wrapped. And it's safe to assume fans of HBO's post-apocalyptic hit are gonna need a little time to unpack both the finale, and the season on the whole. Most of those fans are, of course, also admirers of the groundbreaking video game that inspired the series. While that particular sect of viewers continue to have fierce opinions on any and every change made for the adaptation, they generally have nothing but praise for how closely the series has skewed to the original game's narrative.

In fact, the series goes to painstaking lengths to recreate some of the game's most memorable moments almost beat for beat as Season 1 unfolds. That includes one scene in the season finale that finds Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) enjoying a brief respite from the relentless chaos and carnage around them. The moment comes as they gaze upon a crumbling Salt Lake City skyline, only to come face to face with a free-roaming giraffe.  

It's a powerful scene to be certain, with Ramsay calling it, "So precious it's almost sad," during HBO's "Inside the Episode" recap. Nonetheless, many viewers had serious questions as to whether the giraffe itself was real, or a CGI creation. According to the series' social media team, the giraffe is indeed real, and some "The Last of Us" fans are blown away by the fact.

Some The Last of Us fans are in disbelief that the giraffe was actually real

As for the scene's potency, series creator Craig Mazin even admitted during the "Inside the Episode" that the moment is so strong in "The Last of Us" video game, he changed almost nothing in adapting it. Still, some fans initially claimed they felt the CGI used to create the giraffe was obvious to the point of distraction. And yes, they were pretty gobsmacked when "The Last of Us" team chimed in on the series' official Reddit page to assure fans it was, in fact, a real giraffe.

Upon learning the truth, u/dmbwannabe was among the first to go full face-palm, admitting, "I feel so dumb right now. Because my only criticism of the episode was the giraffe didn't look real enough to me. Nope. It's a real giraffe." Meanwhile, u/lilbug19 was surprised at the truth largely because they thought the CGI giraffe looked great, posting, "my husband and I were like damn the cgi on that giraffe is really good! I feel dumb." And u/Arklytte was kicking themselves in their critique largely because they've seen giraffes up close before.

Elsewhere, u/BrettEskin savvily points out the problem likely wasn't that the giraffe looked fake, but everything around it did, commenting, "I think bc everything else was CGI in the scene it made the giraffe look odd." Whatever the case, with the debate settled, we can now just sit back and bask in the beauty of one of most memorable scenes in the entire first season of "The Last of Us."